Third Sector Capital Partners Announces New CEO Caroline Whistler
Beginning March 15, 2017, Caroline Whistler will be promoted to President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), and George Overholser will transition from his current role as CEO to Board Chair.
Whistler and Overholser, along with Third Sector board member Drew von Glahn, established the organization in 2011 to accelerate America’s transition to a performance-driven social sector. As leading innovators and implementers in the field of outcomes-based social policy, Third Sector has launched 6 of the nation’s 15 Pay for Success programs to date. Since Third Sector’s founding, Whistler has initiated and led the organization’s government advisory work to drive public sector resources to measurably improve lives of those in need.
“Caroline has the boundless energy, intelligence, vision and ability to connect that we need to lead Third Sector to the next level. From the beginning, she has been my trusted partner, and after spending fifteen years of my career leading social sector efforts, I cannot think of a better person to carry on the important work we have only just begun,” stated George Overholser.
Under Whistler’s leadership, Third Sector has launched contracts driving over $100M in public sector resources to outcomes-oriented programs. Third Sector’s work has grown to serve over twenty state and local government jurisdictions, with strategic partnerships including: the White House Office of Social Innovation, New Profit, Ballmer Group, the Kresge Foundation, Living Cities, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, the James Irvine Foundation, Nonprofit Finance Fund, and the Stanford University Center on Poverty and Inequality.
“Caroline's vision has been instrumental in scaling this important work. I have witnessed how her experience, enthusiasm and talent inspires governments and their stakeholders to implement real systems change,” noted Connie Ballmer, Co-Founder of Ballmer Group. “I look forward to continuing our partnership with Third Sector under Caroline's leadership.”
In 2013, Whistler opened Third Sector’s San Francisco office (where she is based) and in 2016 she launched the firm’s Washington, DC location. From 2013 to 2016, the firm has grown from 9 to 35 staff members and has increased its revenue by approximately 400 percent. During Whistler’s tenure, she has also led the completion of three Pay for Success projects: one in Cuyahoga County, OH that addresses family homelessness and child welfare involvement; and two in Santa Clara County, CA that focus on reducing homelessness and improving behavioral health.
Deborah Smolover, Third Sector board member, Managing Partner at New Profit, and Executive Director of America Forward, praised Whistler’s leadership, stating, “Having worked with Caroline for the past three years, I have seen her become both the driving force behind Third Sector’s exceptional growth and a leading influence in the growth of the Pay for Success field nationally. She is a leader among a new generation of social entrepreneurs who are also systems entrepreneurs, dedicated to creating innovative and evidence-based systems change that will result in tangible benefits for thousands of Americans. The Third Sector board of directors looks forward to continuing to work with Caroline in her new capacity and we are confident that Third Sector will thrive under her leadership.”
Whistler is recognized nationally as a leading expert in the Pay for Success field. In 2016, the Chronicle of Philanthropy named her to their “40 Under 40” list recognizing nonprofit and philanthropic leaders who are driving innovative solutions to pressing problems. Also in 2016, Living Cities recognized her as one of the country’s “25 Disruptive Leaders” working to improve economic outcomes for low-income people in America’s cities. She has been published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review and the Community Development Investment Review, a publication of the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank.
“I could not be more excited about the organization and team we have built at Third Sector, who inspire me daily, along with the communities we serve that are working tirelessly to improve lives,” Whistler said. “In a time where the efficient and effective use of resources is becoming ever more essential, I look forward to continuing to work with Third Sector’s board, our team, and our partners to transform how Third Sector aligns resources with results and impact for communities.”
Whistler co-founded Third Sector after completing a Fulbright Fellowship in Brazil researching nonprofit sustainability. Prior to Third Sector, she worked at Nonprofit Finance Fund where she structured growth capital campaigns to help raise over $320 million to help nonprofits including Health Leads and Year Up drive to sustainable revenue models.